No matter what life you’re living or what situation you find yourself in, there is always something to be grateful for.
As Tony Robbins said: “you can’t be grateful and worried at the same time.” So why not choose gratitude over worry? Taking gratitude one step further, Melody Beattie reminds us that “gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace to today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.”
There are many different ways to express your gratitude for all the blessings your life has bestowed upon you. So I challenge you to take this 365-day gratitude journey. You can start any month of the year and try to complete one challenge each month. Each gratitude challenge concentrates on a different area of our life and invites you to show your gratitude in variety of ways. It may be a good idea to dedicate a notebook or at least a calendar to keep track of your challenges and to help you stay accountable for each monthly gratitude challenge.
Start your day with grateful heart and enjoy the journey that each day takes you on.
Month 1: Seeking Gratitude Inspiration
We all spend hours on our computers, therefore, as a first challenge, I invite you to seek gratitude inspiration on the internet. Each day look for an inspirational quote about gratitude. When you find one that you like, copy it on a post it note and post it on a cork board or on a wall that you see often. Each day add one note.
Alternately, write the quote out in your journal or post it on your social media account. By the end of the month you should have a month worth of inspirational quotes covering your wall, filling pages of your journal, or filling your social media feed.
Month 2: The ‘Three Good Things’ Journal
This month is a classic gratitude journal challenge. Every night before you go to sleep write down three things that you’re grateful for that happened that day. If you want to take it a step further, you can make it into a full Three Good Things Exercise explained in detail in this post. If you are truly inspired, list more than three things each time. Try to find something new to be grateful for each and every day. At the end of the month, count all the wonderful things that you appreciated over the course of the month.
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Month 3: ‘I’m Grateful for YOU’ List
You will need to use your journal for this month’s gratitude challenge. Pick a person who is close to you. It could be your spouse, child, parent, sibling, friend, or anyone that has made an impact on your life. Each night write down one thing that you appreciate about them and explain it.
You can also start separate lists for a few different people. Make sure that each night you’re writing something different that you have not mentioned before. By the end of the month you will have a wonderful list of things you appreciate about that person (or those people).
To take it one step further… Copy the list in your best handwriting and send it to the person you wrote about. I bet you they will be very happy and appreciative of this little, but very meaningful gesture.
Month 4: A Note of Appreciation
It doesn’t take much to make someone’s day. A simple, hand written note can go a really long way.
Realistically, you may not have the time to write a note of appreciation each and every day. So this month, simply write one card per week.
Every week write out one card or a letter to someone you appreciate and express your gratitude towards them. Tell them exactly what it is that you appreciate about them, whether it’s big or small, it doesn’t matter. Explain what it is that they said or did that warmed your heart. Then, mail the card or the letter to them.
Month 5: A ‘Thank You’ Can Go a Long Way
How often do you say ‘thank you’ to someone just out of habit or politeness, but never really stop to appreciate the help or the gesture that you are thanking them for?
How about taking 3-5 seconds more and adding the reason you are thanking than to your ‘thank you’?
So this month’s gratitude challenge is to add those few words to your ‘thank you’ and clearly express what it is that you appreciate of at least once each day. You can say “thank you for holding the door for me” to you colleague or “thank you for putting the dishes in the dishwasher” to your child. Adding those few little words does not take much, but can have a significant, positive impact on those who you are showing your gratitude towards.
Month 6: A Picture is Worth a 1000 Gratitudes
No matter how many people look at one picture, each person will see something different in it and will interpret it differently.
This month, instead of writing or talking, your gratitude challenge is to take pictures. Every day take one picture of something or someone that you are grateful for. It could be something as simple as a picture of a delicious lunch you had. Or a piece of equipment that saved you some time and money. Or maybe that store clerk who helped you find that special treat your child has been begging you for. You can print it and glue it in your journal or you can post it on your chosen social media account. Instagram works very well for this challenge. You can caption each picture with: “Today I am grateful for… ”
It will be fun to look at the pictures at the end of the month to see what little things made our life that much more wonderful on that particular day.
Month 7: ‘All the Wonderful People in My Life’ List
Pull out your gratitude journal once again this month.
Now, I challenge you to, each and every day, think of a different person that you appreciate. In your journal, write down their name and what you appreciate about them. The people on your list can range from those closest to you like your family and friends, to those you may barely know like some of your coworkers or neighbours. You can even include people that you don’t really know. They could be those who have inspired you to do something wonderful, like your favourite authors, teachers, mentors, podcasters, you tubers etc.
You will be amazed at how many people have positive impact or influence on your life.
Month 8: Gratitude Texting
In this day and age we are often glued to our phones. Why not use them for something very positive and meaningful; something that will make someone else’s day?
This month your gratitude challenge is to, each and every day, send a text message to someone you care about expressing your gratitude towards them. You can use the people from the gratitude journal from previous month. I’d encourage you to write down the names of the people you text each day. This will ensure that you are reaching as many people you care about with your gratitudes as possible. Trust me, that little text message is bound to make their day!
Month 9: Spreading the Joy of Gratitude
Involving others in your gratitudes will make them more aware of the good things that are happening in their own lives.
This month’s gratitude challenge is to, every day, share one gratitude with someone and to ask them to share with you one thing they are grateful for. Who you want to engage in this challenge is totally up to you. It could be a different person every day or maybe a group of friends you’d like to share this challenge with. Either way, sharing positive experiences is bound to help you and others realize how good your life is and will make you feel better about it, even if just for a moment.
Month 10: The Things I Can’t Believe I Lived Without…
Have you ever bought something you didn’t think you’ll ever use and now you can’t imagine how you survived without it?
This month’s gratitude challenge is to look at all those things in your life – mostly inanimate objects that surround us and express your appreciation for their part in improving your everyday life.
In a notebook, make a list of all the tools, utensils, technology, transportation, and other things that you use in every day life that you are grateful for. Add one thing to the list each day and in a sentence or two explain why you are grateful for it.
And yes… wine bottle openers count 🙂
Month 11: The Beauty of Nature
The beauty of nature surrounds us. Sometimes, we take a minute to appreciate a sunset or stare at droplets of rain pelleting our window, but most of the time we are just running around ignoring the nature that surrounds us.
This month, I challenge you to stop and smell the proverbial roses. Take a second to appreciate the nature. Over the course of the month express your gratitude and appreciation for the nature that surrounds you.
Each night write down one thing found in nature that you are grateful for and as a bonus, explain why you are grateful for it. It could be something as simple as a sunrise you noticed driving to work, a bird that sat on a tree branch outside your window, or a blanket of white snow that just covered your backyard.
The point of this month’s gratitude is to stop for those few seconds, take a deep breath and appreciate the little things found in nature that we often ignore in our busy, everyday lives.
Alternately, you can take pictures and post them on your social media. Can you imagine how beautiful your Instagram feed will look like after a month?
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Month 12: ‘I’m Grateful for Being ME’ List
It’s easy to express gratitude towards others and be appreciative of things outside of ourselves. But it is so much more difficult to be grateful for the gifts that we possess within us.
So during this last month’s gratitude challenge is to take a look at yourself. I challenge you to, each night, write down one thing that you appreciate about yourself. I bet that this will be the most difficult challenge yet! But believe me, after completing it, you will have a short list of your own attributes that you can go back to and look over when feeling unworthy.
If you have a particularly hard time with this challenge, ask your family members and friends what they appreciate about you. Write it down, including the explanation. By the end of the month you will have a list of 31 positive aspects of yourself! It’s a great feeling to know that you too are appreciated.
Are You Ready?
So which challenge will you try first? Start with the one you feel would be the easiest or most engaging and fun! Let us know in the comments!
Or maybe you have an idea for a gratitude challenge that has not been mentioned above? I’d love to learn how you express your gratitude.